Postal Worker Robbed and Locked in Back of Truck Thurs. Evening at 14th and T St, NW

“Dear PoP,

Walked past the post office on 17th and T earlier tonight around 8pm and it was blocked of with police tape and heavy police presence. Walked by after dinner at 10:50 and still blocked off. Found out from TV cameraman a postal worker had been robbed and locked in the back of his truck around 6:30.”

Thanks to all who sent emails and tweets about this crazy incident. Another reader tweeted:

“Postal worker robbed and locked in truck for 20 minutes . Not hurt.”

You can follow PoPville on twitter here.

NBC Washington reports:

“The worker was leaving the T Street Post Office at 14th and Wallach about 6:30 p.m. putting mail and the day’s proceeds in a postal truck when he was approached by a gunman. The gunman demanded the mail and money and locked the worker in the back of the truck.”

79 Comment

  • Trucks full of Christmas deliveries make tempting targets for theft.

  • WoW WoW WoW, Seriously, I was walking along 13th at T right around 530 tonight and was watching the postman deliver after dark with his little headlight on (I had just seen the Asian guy beaten up at the metro), and said to myself, hmmm, “I wonder if the postal guys ever get jumped.” This is clearly a bit different given it was jumping a large truck outside a post office, but man oh man, what timing. Wonder if some mad girlfriend accidentally mailed out some dude’s stash and he really wanted it back bad.

    It’s still like the wild west down there on the flats east of 15th St NW.

    • What is the Asian guy beaten up about? For all the trendy new restaurants and apartments this part of the city still has a long way to go.

      • Apparently the Crew Punks like to beat up Asian Men and White Women. I wonder if it’s initiation, anger, or if they get reward points from their handlers.

      • I agree and that is what people don’t get. A lot of people live in pretend land because of all of the nice stores and whatnot. Rest assured, this is still DC and it goes down. Don’t get caught slippin.

    • You should leave town. Now. We can’t afford to have any more bad things happen because of you.

    • I like that – “The Flats”. Good name for the area.

    • It really kind of shocked me when I heard this story on NPR this morning, as well as last night on Channel 4. This morning, they said he called the police on his cell phone and “they were there within 30 minutes.” Did I hear that correctly? The guy is robbed and locked in the truck, and it took them almost 30 minutes to respond?

  • Obviously the thugs didn’t realize what kinda felony hit they just walked themselves into….

  • So how much $$ do they actually have these days? My friend and I were debating that as we walked by the crime scene late last night (it was insane, fwiw).

    They can’t have much cash on hand given 1) how few people use the post offices on a regular day and 2) how many (most?) transactions must happen by credit card. On and then there is 3) postage is still pretty cheap so it’s not like they are going to be collecting a very large stash.

    • The robber probably didn’t really think about it (how much money the worker had on) that carefully– seems like more of a crime of opportunity.

    • I can’t imagine the worker had any significant amount of cash at all, except for maybe what he had in his wallet. That said, maybe he was picking up the day’s recepits from the post office?

      When I read it was a stickup, I figured it was a 2-fer mugging: get the wallet from the postal worker, get the boxes of christmas gifts from the truck.

      Does anybody know if the postal service routinely transports its cash via delivery vehicle?

    • A lot of people go to the post office for money orders and pay with cash. So my guess is they rack up a fair amount on an average day.

  • I’m starting to wonder if this is “all part of living in a big city” because I didn’t hear of this type of violence and rampant theft in Chicago and it has had its share. Plus it has 5 times as many residents…Is my perception off?

    • Well people that live here just say “Oh, well it’s the big’ll get used to it.” Should we ever get used to this? Is this tolerance of crime the reason why it is rampant throughout our community?

      • no decent person says that.

      • I’m sure the victim of this crime isn’t saying that.

      • My landlord says that all the time and several other people that I can think of that have lived here longer than me.

        Maybe the landlord is just trying to save their a…

      • I’ve lived in small and big cities since I was a legal adult, and always enjoyed it (warts and all). I moved to DC and then promptly moved to the suburbs 8 months later. I’d had enough of DC “city life.”

        • yes, we know.

          • Only people like you would be bored enough to follow my sad tale.

          • Anonymous 10:18 AM is being snarky and could’ve/should’ve kept quiet… but for anyone who’s been a regular reader of this blog in the past year, Meg’s story would’ve been hard to miss.

            (For what it’s worth.)

          • I probably did whine a bit too much. I hold nothing against people that love DC (although sometimes I think they’re a little crazy) 🙂

          • Also, there’s a lot of super personal things that happened to me almost immediately after I moved, which would probably make anyone dislike where they lived for the shear fact that it stirred up bad memories and emotions. I don’t know that I gave DC a fair shot, but I’m happy where I am now.

          • You win the internet today.

        • For better or worse, the “city life” is moving to the suburbs, and the city is gentrifying (including crime rates falling). And if I recall correctly, the most dangerous cities in the U.S. aren’t NY, DC or LA, they’re places like Memphis, TN.

          Someone should start a blog about crime, traffic and other issues in the burbs. There’d be plenty to cover.

        • Meg, for every over anxious one of you, there are two of me… people who grew up in the DC suburbs and would live anywhere other than that soulless, dull, ugly, vacuous hell hole.

          • I wasn’t really anxious, living in the city. I’ve dealt with city crime for 11+ years (although DC crime is a horse of a different color). I know how to be safe. The problem is, I lived in a really quiet, boring neighborhood. But boring and quiet was all I could afford. I couldn’t afford to live the way I wanted to and near a metro line, so I was trapped every evening. It took me only 5 minutes less by bus to go 3 miles than it does to go 30 miles now. I couldn’t enjoy the nightlife or whatever the city had to offer anyway. At least in the suburbs, I can run errands without planning days in advance. In my case, living in the suburbs opened up more options to me. I can drive places, find parking (there’s a Wal-Mart and Target across the street from each other 10 minutes from where I live, and you don’t have to pay for parking), find interesting eateries, participate in the community, talk to my neighbors, start my car when it’s cold outside and go back inside, get packages delivered to my door without me being there, all the while getting more bang for my buck. Our three bedroom, 2 full, 2 half bath house only costs $350 more than my whole 1 bedroom apartment in DC.

            It’s not a life that appeals to everyone. I admit there are parts to city live I miss. But it was my time to leave the city – and it wasn’t because I was afraid.

    • I wonder that too. I moved here about 1.5 years ago from a more suburban area, and I get that there is a level of violence and crime in an urban environment. But sometimes it seems that the readiness of people to chalk all of what goes on in DC up to “it’s a city, deal with it” fosters a lot of apathy because people don’t think it can be changed.

      • +1. But that opens up a lot of uncomfortable questions about the gentrification process and its limits. Instead the conversations devolve into self-righteous charges of racism or the always though-provoking “Move to the suburbs!” taunt.

        • Yes, it does. There are quite a few uncomfortable correlations (not causations) associated with crime in this city that leadership and communities will ignore for fear of the “racism” cries. From what I’ve seen on PoP and from interacting with others in DC, I think most people roundly agree that crime is an issue tied to (again not caused by) class and poverty, which some further tie in to race. I don’t think too many people are seriously suggesting policies to rectify the crime rate by targeting people of a specific race, but ultimately, policies that work will address the root issues underlying the problem. And because many of those issues are tied to class, they are ignored by policy makers because of people who cry racist because they have automatically assumed race is tied to class.

      • Agreed. When I hear “it’s a city, deal with it,” I often think the subtext is “it’s a city with a lot of poor people of color, and this is just what they do.” That’s a particularly harmful form of apathy, in my opinion.

    • I would have to ask where you lived in Chicago. Crime and killing is out of control there. You must not have been watching the news the past 10 years, I mean seriously. You don’t recall Antoine Walker being tied up in his house on the gold coast? And numberous other players being robbed while walking by the lake? Plus, I don’t think DC ever had a 41 shootings in 50 hours like Chicago did last year. The city is so big you won’t hear about everything but best believe Chicago is wild. DC is so small so you are going to find out about more. But I will say this and I alway have, the dudes (and some women) out here are just totally reckless with how they get down, they don’t think nor do they care. In other places it is thought out or it is sneaky…

      • Yeah, DC is worse of that NY, Bos, SF, but not much worse than Chi or Philly.

        The difference with Chicago is that it so much bigger that you can limit yourself to the nice areas and not get bored.

        In DC if you want to live/hang out in a safe, dense, urban area you basically have Dupont and a couple adjoining areas. But, that gets old pretty quickly.

        So you have to make a trade off between safety (Upper NW, Arlington) or urban vibe (Adams Morgan, U Street, Columbia Heights) and sometime even both (Bloomingdale).

        In Chicago there are probably 600k people living in areas like Dupont. There is enough stuff to do on the north side areas that there is really no reason to set foot in a marginal neighborhood like H Street.

        • You make a good point in the city comparison

        • I get your point, but it’s way too simplistic; and Bloomingdale is not a good example of “lack of vibe and unsafe.”

          Bloomingdale is only a few blocks away from hot and heavy U street as well as busy North Capitol. There are plenty of streets in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan that are equally near or far from the main drag.

          Also, if you do searches using the DC Crime Map, you’ll see that Bloomingdale is hardly a hot bed of crime, particularly when compared to other neighborhoods that are near bustling urban areas.

          In what part of the city do you live?

          • It’s a comment on a blog post, of course it is simplistic.

            Yeah ok, I am just tossing a name out there to make a point. Replace Bloomindale with finges of Columbia Heights and the point remains the same.

            DC is pretty small, and not as urban as some other cities. So its harder to restrict yourself to just Dupont type areas.

        • Agreed. I thought about moving to Chicago but I was tired of being in the midwest and wanted to get to other cities so Chitown was out. With that being said, I did learn that you will never get through all of Chicago in a lifetime (not literally but maybe), it is that big.

      • You shouldn’t be afraid in Chicago, NY or DC. You should be afraid in Cleveland, Dayton, Memphis, Birmingham, Reading, and other places with lots o’ serious crime and smaller populations.

        • from DC and I’ve never felt so safe as when I lived in NYC. there is something to be said about the city that never sleeps. there is always someone walking down the street with you. whether they will help you out if you get in trouble is another story. But all in all, I never felt in danger in NY

    • where did you get your news there vs here? PoP does a pretty good job at reporting this stuff. Is it possible that you just read about it more here?

      • I agree, PoP does a good job. If I wasn’t on this blog, I would not know about half of the crime that happens in certain areas but I would not think it does not happen.

    • I think the real issue is what your definition of “rampant” is. There is a tendency for people to construe crime in the “gentrifying” or “gentrified” parts of NW as being endemic. It’s not. There are parts of this city that would love to have the crime problems of DuPont or Logan Circle.

    • DC is notorious. I mean, we were the murder capital for YEARS which is why the Bullets are now the Wizards… wishful thinking.

      • Actually, Abe Pollin changed the name after his friend, Itzach (sp?) Rabin, the Israeli prime minister, was murdered. But you are correct, he did it because of the toll gun violence has on our society.

  • and no one is shocked by how easily acessible handguns are.

    • i’m not. are you?

    • Bullets and thug training too. Starts when you’re quite young around here, and they have special laws to protect your identity while in training.

    • Handguns and extremely low punishment for juvenile crime (trust me, they know the lack of consequences).

      Extreme (and barbaric) case but if the punishment for stealing was loss of a hand or finger, I’d take a wild guess and assume we could start leaving our doors unlocked.

      It is all directly related to the RISK vs. REWARD.

  • what about the people’s mail?

  • looks like everyone who opted for amazon’s “super saver shipping” on black friday is really regretting that now

  • jim_ed


  • I walked into the maelstrom of yellow tape and blacked-out, blue-flashing Suburbans at 14th and T after my friend’s bag was stolen an hour before during dinner a few doors down, so this latest incident is the cherry on the sundae.

    DC makes me sick. I’m tired of the complacency regarding crime in this town. I’m tired of feeling like I always have to watch my back because of my gender, looks, or attire.

    My DC experience had taught me that it’s foolish to take more than the bare essentials with you when you go anywhere, even if it’s just the bar a block away. Wrong, as my wallet was stolen from my coat pocket earlier this year. When I confronted the suspicious guy had been standing next to my coat and had probably lifted it, a member of his entourage looked at me dismissively and said, “Oh, she’s got coins.” I’m sorry, but just because I fit your schema of someone who “has coins” doesn’t mean I can afford to lose my wallet and spend several hours contacting banks, insurance companies, credit bureaus, DMV… just so ridiculous people can make attempts in vain to buy gift cards at CVS or withdraw $100 from my checking account. I’m sick of the entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in this town.

    I’ve been living in large cities for over 5 years now (including NYC and SF) and while those places have their own problems, at least the issues are somewhat addressed by a city government that attempts to improve quality of life. Here, not so much. The attitude seems to be, “It’s always been this way. Hell, now is the safest it has ever been!” DC will never be a respectable city until its government and constituents can honestly discuss and tackle fundamental problems like this without getting touchy about everything. Sadly, talking about socioeconomic drivers of such issues in DC is like walking on eggshells.

    • I think you dived into my brain and pulled all of my thoughts together and typed this. Thank you.

    • Actually, I am sure that the political class in DC would love to talk about socioeconomic drivers of crime. It’s the constituents – more specifically, newer and wealthier consituents – that don’t want to hear any of it.

      I don’t know what decent size city you could live in where there wouldn’t be a possibility that you could be victimized by a crime of opportunity – like a pickpocket or bag snatcher. There was a post on this board a week or so ago about a team of upscale (i.e. – not urban and black) pickpockets that grabbed a wallet from a woman’s bag while she was sitting at the bar of a high end restaurant, and then promptly went on a gift card shopping spree. Those kind of things happen all of the time. You just happened to catch the “suspicious” (whatever that means) guy next to your coat. Most victims of that kind of crime don’t.
      I always laugh whenever I hear people talk about NYC as being relatively safer than DC. Everytime I go up there I’m struck by how the first 10 minutes of every newscast is spent recounting all kinds of horrible crimes that occurred in the past 24 hours.

      • I’m partly with you. The challenge when discussing socio-economic drivers of crime is that you quickly get into issues about needing to attract investment to have jobs and opportunities. You also have to discuss how businesses do not want to invest in areas with high crime and hordes of needy w/o disposable income. Investment has to be attracted, to some extent. Ironically, when investers move in and bring jobs (yes, new businesses do hire locals), they are blasted as gentrifiers and lamented. It a no-win.

  • Let’s nominate a good candidate to run for city council!

  • The city thugs are getting desperate if they’re risking federal time.

    This does not bode well for Treasury employees.

  • I respectfully disagree, Marcus. While I am a newer resident (moved here in summer 2009), wealthy is subjective. After DC and federal taxes, I make roughly 45K annually as an ICU nurse who spends 12 to 13 hour shifts often keeping young victims with severe injuries secondary to gunshot and stab wounds alive. Yes, I’m lucky enough to be getting by and can afford to pay my bills and exorbitant rent, but if these things and my solidly middle class income make me “wealthy,” what’s all this fuss about the 99%?

    My perspective may be slightly different from yours, as I suspect we have different professions. However, I’m willing to bet you’ve never told an 18-25 year old gunshot wound victim he’s never going to walk again before teaching him how to care for his new colostomy and catheterize his bladder every 4 hours, assuming he’s off the ventilator and stable enough to participate. Personally, I love my job and would like to see an end to such heartbreaking nonsense, so I’m all ears and feel compelled to discuss the socioeconomic factors that result in such patients ending up under my care.

    I do agree that crimes of opportunity can happen to anyone, anywhere, especially in a larger city. Thank you also for the reminding me and other PofP regulars of what recently happened at Bistro La Bonne. However, I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect my belongings to be secure when they’re on my person or less than an arm’s length away. When my wallet was stolen, I was standing roughly 6 inches from my coat and was approached by a fidgety guy who, among a room of gay guys, singled me, a queer female, out for some odd reason. Not that my experience as a nurse has taught me anything, but he seemed completely out of his mind on stimulants when he attempted to talk to me. Some may call the situational context and his behavior “suspicious.” When he walked back to his male entourage minutes later and I noticed my wallet (which had been there prior to his visit) was gone, he was the first person I thought may have taken it. FWIW, he was white, as am I. God forbid.

    I never said that NYC or SF are safer than DC, as you insinuated. As I said, each city has its unique problems with regard to public safety. The difference between DC and these examples is how DC addresses crime (or doesn’t).

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